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Brussels Friday 9 October 2009

Top News from the European Commission
12 October to 8 November 2009

Background notes from the Spokesperson's service for journalists.
The European Commission reserves the right to make changes

Wednesday 14 October: Annual Enlargement package - the state of play and the way forward 2

Wednesday 14 October: Make the life easier for cross-border successions 4

Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 October: International Workshop on Poverty Eradication and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights 5

Thursday 15 October: Progress in the Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU 6

Thursday 15 October: 6th Brussels Debate: "Cultural diversity: spicing up Creativity?" 7

Friday 16 October: EU Bookshop Digital Library goes live - All the EU publications in one place 8

Friday 16 October: Commission proposes fishing possibilities for 2010 9

Tuesday or Wednesday 20 or 21 October: Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the EU - the state of play and the way forward 10

Wednesday 21 October: Improving protection and efficacy of the European Asylum System 11

Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October: Building bridges between Europe and its neighbours - the Mediterranean and Africa - on trans-European Networks 13

Thursday 22 October: Overcoming fragility in Africa, main focus of the EU's first-ever European Report on Development 14

Thursday 22 to 24 October: European Development Days 16

Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 October: Launch of the 2010 European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion 17

Tuesday 3 November: Autumn 2009 Economic Forecasts 18

Wednesday 14 October: Annual Enlargement package - the state of play and the way forward

The news:

The Commission will adopt an enlargement strategy communication, which gives an updated overview of the EU's enlargement policy and a summary of progress made over the past twelve months by each of the countries that share a perspective to join the EU.

These are the three candidate countries; Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the potential candidates; Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo u nder UN Security Council Resolution 1244 It will also adopt a study on means to further Kosovo's progress towards integration with the EU. Reference is also made to the recent application for membership by Iceland.

More detailed assessments will be provided in the progress reports for each country that will be published as background documents.

To establish a clear framework for the enlargement policy, the Commission will also adopt the Multiannual Financing Framework document for all the candidate and potential candidate countries establishing the financial framework for 2009-2012 with indicative allocations for each beneficiary.

The background:

Enlargement has been a success story for the European Union and our continent as a whole. It has helped Europe overcome its division and contributed to peace and stability throughout the continent. It has inspired reforms and has consolidated common principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law as well as the market economy. It has enabled people from both the EU Member Sates and the candidate countries and potential candidates to travel, to study and to work more freely throughout Europe. The wider internal market and economic cooperation have increased prosperity and competitiveness, enabling the enlarged Union to respond better to the challenges of globalisation.

At the December 2006 Summit, EU Heads of State and Government renewed the consensus on the Enlargement policy. They consolidated the EU's enlargement agenda, which now covers South-East Europe, i.e. the Western Balkans and Turkey. At the same time they emphasised conditionality. This means that the European perspective can only materialise if the candidate countries and potential candidates meet the accession criteria. Quality is more important than speed. Enlargement is a gradual and carefully managed policy.

The event:

12:15: Press conference by Commissioner Rehn, press room of the Berlaymont, Brussels.

  • Available on EbS + Video Stockshots and infoclip will be available (one of them entitled KOSOVO – 2009)

The sources:

The Enlargement package of 2008:

IP/07/1651 : Implementing  the renewed consensus on enlargement

MEMO/07/447 : Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate countries: Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey

MEMO/07/446 : Key findings of the progress reports on Kosovo and the potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia

European Commission website on enlargement:

  • I-055323 : 2007 EU Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports

  • I-059249 : Automn stockshot package 2008

The contacts:

Amadeu Altafaj Tardio +32 2 295 2658 amadeu.altafaj-tardio

Anna-Kaisa Itkonen +32 2 299 3849

Wednesday 14 October: Make the life easier for cross-border successions

The news:

The proposal on successions and wills will mean that a single competent authority will apply a single law to one and the same succession, irrespective of where the property is located. Most importantly, citizens will be free to choose the law that will apply. That will be either the law of their habitual residence or the law of their nationality if they prefer to keep close links with their country of origin.

The easier determination of the applicable law will ensure that the rights of potential heirs and other persons concerned are better protected. However, the EU initiative will not affect national rules governing inheritance and property or the rules applying to inheritance taxation.

The status of heirs, administrators and executors will be recognised in all EU countries, thanks to a harmonised European certificate of succession.

The background:

Approximately 8 million Europeans live today in a Member State other than the one where they were born, and many own property in more than one EU country. When such a person dies, the potential heirs (children, spouse, etc.) often face complications due to the intricacies of so-called cross-border successions. This results in lengthy proceedings and high legal costs. This complexity also makes it difficult for someone to have a clear view of how his/her succession will be dealt with.

The problem is that today various national laws can apply to the same cross-border succession. In addition, the authorities of different Member States may be competent to settle the succession depending on the property's location. The outcome of cross-border successions is therefore often uncertain. People making use of their rights to move and own property across the EU should not suffer as a result. The applicable rules should be easily predictable.

The event:

Adoption of the proposal for a Regulation on succession and wills.

Press conference in the Berlaymont Press room, Brussels, time tbc.

  • Covered by EbS

The sources:

European Commission website:

Commissioner Barrot's website:

The contacts:

Michele Cercone +32 2 2980963

Riccardo Mosca +32 2 296 1404

Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 October: International Workshop on Poverty Eradication and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

The news:

The European Commission has a long tradition of supporting reproductive health initiatives in developing countries. An International Workshop on Poverty Eradication and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is taking place in Brussels in cooperation with the ACP Group of States, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The event will bring together high-level representatives and key decision makers from ACP countries' national authorities, donor governments as well as beneficiaries involved in SRHR issues to share experiences, discuss policy implications and potential financial commitments.

The background:

In 2002, the European Commission agreed to fund a programme of sexual and reproductive health services in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (implementation period: January 2003 to October 2008).

The purpose of the € 32 million grant was to help 22 of the poorest countries to manage and improve their own delivery of sexual and reproductive health care. The programme was implemented by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in cooperation with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and in agreement with the ACP Group of States.

The workshop will present results and lessons learned from the joint programme activities in the past and draw up recommendations for future interventions in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The event:

15 October 10.30: Press briefing, Centre Albert Borschette, room AB-0D, Rue Froissart 36; Brussels.

  • Subject on EbS + memoclip

The sources:

EuropeAid website:

ACP Group of States website:

UNFPA website:

IPPF website:

COM(2002) 129 Health and Poverty Reduction in Developing Countries

Commissioner De Gucht's website:

The contacts:

John Clancy +32 2 29 53773

Marie-Pierre Jouglain +32 2 29 84449

Directorate-General External cooperation programmes:

Sabina Gockel +32 2 299 5446

Suzanne Kodsi +32 2 299 2244

Thursday 15 October: Progress in the Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU

The news:

The Commission will adopt three major Communications in the field of the Integrated Maritime Policy:

A Progress Report on the Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU:

it responds to a request of the European Council and takes stock of two year's worth of the Integrated Maritime Policy achievements. It also sets an outlook for future policy priorities, including further development of cross-cutting tools (i.e. maritime spatial planning, integrated maritime surveillance and marine knowledge) and maritime governance, and it focuses on sustainable economic growth, employment and innovation, as well as on sea basin strategies.

A Communication on the integration of maritime surveillance in the EU:

the Commission will set guiding principles in view of establishing a cross-sectoral common information sharing environment that would serve various maritime surveillance authorities in the EU Member States. Increased cooperation in order to avoid duplication of effort in data collection and improved access to data will increase both the efficiency of surveillance activities and their cost-effectiveness.

A Communication on the international dimension of the Integrated Maritime Policy:

the Commission will outline ways to strengthen the EU's position in multilateral and bilateral relations, so that it exerts stronger influence in international debate on maritime issues and thus safeguards the economic and social interests of the EU and enhances the protection of the marine environment.

The background:

The Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU was established two years ago after a broad consultation process and constitutes an innovative comprehensive approach to maritime affairs in lieu of hitherto sector-by-sector policy-making. This new approach, based on increased cross-sectoral cooperation that exploits synergies and prevents conflicts, is being emulated by EU Member States' national and regional governments and non-EU countries alike. The Commission also advocates tailoring the Integrated Maritime Policy to different sea basins' specific challenges. In line with this approach, the Commission has recently adopted a Communication "Towards an Integrated Maritime Policy for better governance in the Mediterranean", to follow the already existing strategies for the Arctic and the Baltic Seas.

The event:

11.00: Technical briefing in the press room of the Berlaymont, Brussels. Publication of IP and MEMO

The sources:

European Commission's website:

Commissioner Borg's website:

The contacts:

Nathalie Charbonneau +32 2 296 3763

Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 296 0567

Thursday 15 October: 6 th Brussels Debate: "Cultural diversity: spicing up Creativity?"

The News

The 6 th Brussels Debate "Cultural diversity: spicing up Creativity?" will take a close look at the complex relation between cultural diversity, creativity and innovation: is cultural diversity an essential element of creativity or a nice-to-have ingredient?

Cultural diversity enlarges and values the different ways of seeing and doing things in other cultures. This openness gives the capacity to select and absorb elements of other cultures, helping to produce new ways of thinking, seeing, imagining and creating. How can this link be better fostered in today's European mosaic of cultures, traditions, languages and beliefs?

The background:

The European Union has declared 2009 the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. The Year aims to raise awareness of importance of creativity and innovation as a key competence of personal, social and economic development.

Throughout EYCI 2009, seven debates on key topics around creativity and innovation will be held in cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC), special partner of the Year. The debates are designed to provide a platform for reflection and exchange of ideas which can contribute to policy discussion on creativity and innovation.

The last debate will take place on Thursday, 19 November on the topic "Cultural and other creative industries"

The event:

6 th Brussels Debate "Cultural diversity: spicing up Creativity?", Résidence Palace, Polak Room, Rue de la Loi 155, 1040 Brussels, 17:00 - 19:00 (Registration will start at 16:30)


Maroš Šefčovič, European Commissioner for Education, training, culture and youth

Phil Wood, author of "Intercultural City, planning the diversity advantage"

Bola Olabisi, Managing Director, Global Women Inventors & Innovators Network (GWIIN)

Sabine Frank, Secretary General of the Platform for Intercultural Europe

Daniel de Torres, Commissioner for Integration and Intercultural Dialogue in Barcelona

The sources:

Website of the Creativity and Innovation 2009:

Education and Culture web site:

Home page Europa:

The contacts:

John R. Macdonald +32 2 295 52 67

Sophie Andersson +32 2 295 02 08

Friday 16 October: EU Bookshop Digital Library goes live - All the EU publications in one place

The news:

Scanning 12 million pages makes more than 110 000 EU publications available free of charge for download in the EU Bookshop Digital Library. It offers all publications ever edited by the Publications Office on behalf of the EU institutions, agencies and other bodies since 1952.

To host the newly uploaded publications, the EU Bookshop offers a new web interface with increased capabilities and functionality to allow users to better take advantage of its expanded content. The EU Bookshop is a valuable information source for citizens, journalists, education professionals, students, librarians, publishers, and anybody interested in Europe, in 50 languages, including the possibility of ordering printed copies.

The background:

The Publications Office's archives have long represented a veritable treasure trove of European history. These publications can once again see the virtual light of day through the Publications Office Digital Library.

The Publications Office Digital Library was a response to a growing demand to digitise out-of-print publications. In 2007, the Publications Office launched a PDF-on-demand service, wherein users could request publications to be retrieved from the archives and scanned as needed. They turned out to be in such high demand that within six months the service was saturated. To better serve the users, it was decided to scan the industrial volumes of the entire archive.

The result – less than two years later – is an electronic library of more than 14 million pages of web-optimised PDFs available to the public free of charge. Public response has been overwhelmingly positive, and the numbers speak for themselves: total PDF downloads jumped from just 100 000 in 2008 to an expected 280 000 per month for 2009.

The event:

15:30 - 17:30: Frankfurt Bookfair, Hall 6.2 Press Centre Conference room, Messegelände, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt.


Leonard Orban, EU Commissioner for multilingualism

Claudia Lux, President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions 2007-09 (IFLA) and Director General of the Central and Regional Library Berlin

The sources:

EU Bookshop:

Publications Office of the European Union:

Commissioner Orban's web site:

Frankfurt Bookfair:

To confirm attendance to the event:

The contacts:

Pietro Petrucci +32 2 298 94 92

Roger Nunn +32 2 295 36 47

Friday 16 October: Commission proposes fishing possibilities for 2010

The news:

The Commission will adopt its proposal on annual fishing possibilities for 2010, based on scientific advice from ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

The proposal covers the main commercial stocks in the North-East Atlantic, including the North Sea. Fishing opportunities need to be adopted by the Council of Fisheries Ministers when they meet on 14-15 December, so that they can apply from 1 January 2010.

The background:

The Commission set out the principles it would follow in interpreting scientific advice in its policy statement published in May. Proposals for 2010 fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea have been presented separately and should be adopted by Council in October and/or November.

Despite the division of annual fishing opportunities into a number of regional regulations, the present proposal continues to be perceived in many quarters as the most important in determining the fate of the EU fishing industry for the coming year as it covers many of the most commercially-important fish stocks in European waters, such as cod, hake, herring, sole and plaice, etc.

The Commission's proposal takes account of input from national authorities and stakeholders, with whom the Commission has actively pursued technical consultations.

The event:

Technical briefing in the Berlaymont press room, Brussels, time tbc, plus publication of IP and MEMO, tables, graphs and maps.

The sources:

IP/09/747 : Commission opens the discussion on fishing possibilities for 2010

Commissioner Borg's website:

  • I-061187 : VNR: Towards a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

The contacts:

Nathalie Charbonneau +32 2 296 3763

Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 296 0567

Tuesday or Wednesday 20 or 21 October: Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the EU - the state of play and the way forward

The news:

The Commission will adopt a Communication on the Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the EU. This Communication will give a state of play of all existing burdens, coming from EU legislation, and look at new areas where red tape can be reduced. . The Commission has already made the proposals to reach the main aim of a reduction of 25% of administrative costs by 2012, but will keep looking at further ways to cut red tape.

The background:

In January 2007 the Commission presented an ambitious Action Programme to eliminate unnecessary administrative burdens on businesses in the EU. The European Council endorsed the Programme in March 2007 and agreed that administrative burdens arising from EU legislation, including national measures implementing or transposing this legislation, should be reduced by 25% in 2012. The European Council also invited Member States to "set national targets of comparable ambition".

The Action Programme is an essential part of the Commission's overall Better Regulation Agenda. It seeks to promote competitiveness, growth and jobs. Reducing regulatory costs imposed on enterprises is also in line with the Small Business Act and its "think small first" principle. It is one of the key areas for action in the European Economic Recovery Plan.

The event:

Press conference by Vice-President Günter Verheugen, publication of IP and MEMO

  • Available on EbS + A short video clip on practical examples of administrative burden reductions

The sources:

IP/09/754 - VP Verheugen and Dr. Stoiber award the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) for the best idea for red tape reduction

IP/09/131 - Better regulation – a European success story

MEMO/09/31 - Radical simplification of EU law continued in 2008

SPEECH/08/346 - "Cutting Red Tape for Europe", European Parliament, 20/06/2008

European Commission's website on:

The contacts:

Ton Van Lierop +32 2 296 6565

Catherine Bunyan +32 2 299 6512

Wednesday 21 October: Improving protection and efficacy of the European Asylum System

The news:

The present recast is proposed with the aim to ensure a higher degree of harmonisation and better substantive and procedural standards of protection, with a view to progressing towards the establishment of a common asylum procedure and a uniform status, as called for by the Hague Programme.

Concerning the qualification Directive, the amendments are expected:

To simplify decision-making procedures and lead to more robust determinations at first instance, thus preventing abuse

To streamline procedures for granting rights, thus improving the efficiency of the asylum process

To ensure coherence with the standards developed since the adoption of the Directive in the jurisprudences of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

For the Asylum Procedures Directive the envisaged measures are expected:

To improve coherence between EU asylum instruments

To simplify procedural notions and devices.

To improve the quality of asylum decision making by “frontloading" services, advice and expertise and encouraging MS to deliver, within a reasonable time, robust determinations at first instance

The background:

The Hague Programme called for the submission by the Commission of the second-phase instruments of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) to the Council and the European Parliament with a view to their adoption before the end of 2010. The Commission is therefore proposing amendments to the Qualification Directive and to the Directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status.

These initiatives complement those already adopted:

revision of the "EURODAC Regulation"

revision of the "Dublin Regulation"

revision of the Directive on Reception conditions

proposal for the creation of a support office

The event:

Press conference of Vice President Jacques Barrot. Day and place to be confirmed.

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

IP 08/1875 : Putting the asylum seekers at the heart of a human and fair procedure: the EU Commission proposes to modify the Common European Asylum System

MEMO/08/758 : Questions and Answers on the Commission Proposal to amend the Dublin Regulation

MEMO/08/759 : Questions and Answers on the Commission Proposal to amend the EURODAC Regulation

MEMO/08/760 : Questions and Answers on the Commission Proposal to amend the Reception Conditions Directive

IP/09/275 : Setting up of European Asylum Support Office proposed by the Commission

MEMO/09/71 : La Commission adopte une proposition de règlement visant à la création du Bureau européen d'appui en matière d'asile

European Commission websites:

Commissioner Barrot's website:

The contacts:

Michele Cercone +32 2 298 0963

Riccardo Mosca +32 2 296 1404

Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October: Building bridges between Europe and its neighbours - the Mediterranean and Africa - on trans-European Networks

The news:

The European Commission organises with the Swedish EU Presidency and the Italian Ministry of Transport a Ministerial conference: TENT-T Days 2009: The future of trans-European transport networks. Building bridges between Europe and its neighbours - the Mediterranean and Africa - on trans-European Networks.

The event will host 10 workshops and 3 round tables, to which Ministers of Transport from EU and non-EU state will participate, Members of the European Parliament, as well as CEOs of Transport infrastructure managers and operators.

During the event, a closed ministerial session and a ministerial dinner will take place. Both will be the occasion to discuss important documents such as the Brdo II TEN-T progress report and the Euro-African Action Plan. In the closing session, Vice-President Antonio Tajani is expected to sign a number of financing decisions taken within the frame of the European Economic Recovery Plan.

The background:

The TEN-T policy review process was launched by the EC on 4 February 2009 with the publication of a Green Paper on the matter. It opened a three month public consultation in the frame of which over 250 contributions from European transport stakeholders (State, regional and local administrations, European organisations, Infrastructure Managers, Transport operations from the public and the private sector…) were received. The Naples Conference will take stock of the main issues that emerged from that public consultation and formulate key recommendations. The final aim of the process is the revision of 2004 TEN-T Guidelines in view of the financial perspective 2014-2020.

The EC Communication on the partnership between the EU and Africa adopted on 26 June 2009 is another important milestone that will be addressed during the Naples Conference, together with the broader topic of building up strong partnerships between the EU and its neighbours. Several States and/or geographical areas will be considered for extending TEN-Ts among which at first rank the Russian Federation and the Northern African countries. Candidate countries will be dedicated specific attention as well.

The event:

The event will take place in Naples, Italy. Program available on

Contact Sergio Salvador, information and communication officer DG TREN

+ 32 229 57 978;

The sources:

IP/09/208 TEN-T: towards a new policy for meeting future challenges

IP/09/989 - Transport: Reinforcing cooperation between Europe and Africa

Cooperation between Europe and Africa in the transport sector:

Transport infrastructure – What do we want to achieve?

Vice-president Tajani's home page:

The contacts:

Fabio Pirotta +32 2 296 7284

Andrea Maresi +32 2 296 3067

Thursday 22 October: Overcoming fragility in Africa, main focus of the EU's first-ever European Report on Development

The news:

The first-ever European Report on Development (ERD), a framework for rethinking the EU perspective on key development issues and enhance its voice on the international scene, will be launched in Stockholm in the context of the European Development Days. This first Report, which is meant to forge a new European approach, is dealing with the complex issue of fragility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Described as the "toughest development challenge of our era", how to deal with situations of fragility is currently high on the European and international political agenda.

A number of countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are regarded as ‘fragile states’, where the authorities cannot or do not perform their most basic public tasks. Their citizens face hardship and insecurity, and are more vulnerable to external and internal shocks, such as natural disasters, economic turbulence or social unrest.

One of the other problems is the persistence of the fragility. For instance, 35 countries defined as fragile by the World Bank in 1979 are still fragile in 2009, three decades later. And fragility is bad news also for the neighbours, as fragility has spillover effects that can weaken or destabilise the entire neighbourhood. Nevertheless, although fragile countries share certain features in common, it is important to recognise that each one is unique and so requires a customised approach.

The background:

The ERD is a new European initiative which seeks, in partnership with academics and developing countries, to help shape and influence the EU’s perspective on some of the most pressing development issues in a changing global context. It is a concrete manifestation of the EU’s commitment, as the world’s largest aid donor, to the Millennium Development Goals. The ERD initiative is currently supported by the European Commission and six Member States (Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom).

The Report has been produced by an independent team of top level European experts, under the lead of the European University Institute (EUI) and in close collaboration with François Bourguignon, Director of the Paris School of Economics.

The event

The official launch will take place on Thursday 22 October from 13.00 to 14.00 at the European Development Days in Stockholm (Room A4 B) in the presence of Stefano Manservisi (Director General for Development of the European Commission), Joakim Stymne (State Secretary to the Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden), Martin Dinham (Director General of DFID, UK) and several members of the high-level research team behind the Report.

In Stockholm, the ERD will have its very own ‘lounge space’ at the European Commission’s stand. The ERD research team and several African young scholars who have been involved in the report process will be available during the three days to discuss and present their findings and recommendations. Journalists are welcome. Interviews can also be arranged in advance by contacting: Bettina Braun, European Service Network (ESN), tel: +32 2 287 15 31, .

The sources:

EDDs official website and agenda are available:

To learn more about the ERD initiative:

The contacts:

John Clancy +32 2 29 53 773

Marie-Pierre Jouglain +32 2 29 84 449

Thursday 22 to 24 October: European Development Days

The news:

The 4th edition of European Development Days (EDDs), Europe’s foremost platform for policy discussion and exchange on global challenges in all key areas, will be held this year in Stockholm.

Between Davos and Porto Alegre, it brings together about 5°000 participants from 125 countries and 200 speakers: heads of government, international organizations officials and private sector and civil society representatives. Amongst them this year: Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF Managing Director, Karel de Gucht, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, George Soros, business man and chairman Open Society Institut, Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize winner, economist and founder of Grameen Bank and Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International and Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.

The debates are organized during 5 plenary sessions and 25 events. 150 exhibition stands are gathered in the "Development Village". Award ceremonies also take place (including the Lorenzo Natali Prize for journalism and the Development Youth Prize) and outreach activities are organized in Stockholm city centre.

The background:

This year’s EDDs falls one month after the G-20 Leaders meeting in Pittsburgh, two weeks after the IMF-World Bank meeting in Istanbul and six weeks before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Moreover, it comes just after the 7 th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Ouagadougou, which aims to define African leaders' position for Copenhagen. It may also be useful to revisit this theme, which was the centrepiece of Development Days 2007 in Lisbon.

Against this backdrop, the 2009 edition will focus on the global response to the economic downturn and climate change, as well as on the challenges of democracy and development. The opening/closing ceremonies as well as the side events and outreach programme are a chance to engage EU citizens on development issues.

The events:

Thursday 22 October 

13.15: Press conference

19.00: Natali Prize Ceremony

Friday 23 October

13.15: Press conference

Saturday 24 October

9 am: Plenary session:  Climate change, The road to Copenhagen

13.15: Press conference

  • Available on EbS

The sources:

EDDs official website and agenda are available :

Media corner and logistical aspects:

The contacts:

John Clancy +32 2 29 53 773

Marie-Pierre Jouglain +32 2 29 84 449

Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 October: Launch of the 2010 European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion

The news:

A European conference on “Poverty: Perceptions and Reality - The Communication Challenge” will take place in Brussels on 28-29 October to launch the 2010 European Year. The conference is targeted at journalists, policy-makers, NGOs and researchers from all over Europe. On 29 October, it will also be broadcast live on the web (link available the day before at ).

On the first day (28 October), a seminar for journalists working on social issues will take place. The programme for the day includes a presentation of the communication efforts for the European Year; a meeting with Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and the possibility to visit grassroots projects to combat poverty in Brussels.

On the second day (29 October), the results of a Eurobarometer survey on the multi-faceted aspects of poverty, and the first wave of a tracking Eurobarometer survey on Europeans' perception of the social impact of the crisis will be presented to the 400 participants. (The Eurobarometer will also be presented at a technical briefing in the press room on 27 October.) The issues of how European media treat poverty and exclusion issues and the importance of public communication for effective social inclusion policies will be addressed at the conference.

The background:

Almost 80 million people are currently living in poverty in the EU. Despite an improvement in overall living standards in Europe over the past decade, poverty and social exclusion remain major issues in most countries, although with substantial differences across the EU. Poverty rates, based on per capita income, range from 10% in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands to more than 20% in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania.

The 2010 European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion aims to promote solidarity, equality and tolerance while combating stereotypes and stigmatisation. In the 27 Member States, Norway and Iceland, hundreds of events will contribute to the European-wide campaign. The purpose of a European Year is to raise public awareness of and draw national governments' attention to a specific issue.

The event:

27 October: Technical briefing in the Berlaymont press room at 11.15 on the results of the Eurobarometer survey on poverty, Brussels.

28 October: Seminar for journalists.

29 October: Conference on 'Poverty: Perceptions and Reality – the Communication Challenge" in the Charlemagne Building, rue de la Loi 170, including a press conference with Commissioner Špidla and bilateral interviews with journalists, Brussels.

To register, please send an email to

The sources:

European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010:

More information on EU response to the social impact of the crisis:

EU Coordination to improve social welfare

Commissioner Špidla's website:

The contacts:

Katharina von Schnurbein +32 2 298 1408

Ca rmel Dunne +32 2 299 8894

Tuesday 3 November: Autumn 2009 Economic Forecasts

The news:

The Commission publishes its Autumn economic forecasts for 2009-2011 for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, employment and public finances among other indicators. For all 27 European Union countries plus the EU and euro area aggregates.

The background:

The Commission publishes economic forecasts four times a year: two comprehensive exercises in spring and autumn, plus two lighter exercises in between – the interim forecasts – for GDP and inflation for the seven largest EU economies.

In last exercise, on 14 September, the Commission had put economic growth in 2009 at

-4.0% both in the euro area and the EU.

The event:

Press Conference by Commissioner Joaquín Almunia at the Berlaymont in Brussels at 12.15 hrs. IP and economic forecasts on the day.

  • Video and photo coverage by EbS.

The sources:

IP/09/1309 : September 2009 Interim Forecast

IP/09/693 : Spring 2009 Economic Forecast

European Commission websites :

The contacts :

Amelia Torres + 32 2 295 4629

Marisa González + 32 2 295 1925

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